Engineer, stoker, shipwright, ship's captain -- a congregation in a coastal town often includes such men.
Engineer, stoker, shipwright, ship's captain -- a congregation in a coastal town often includes such men. Busselton in Western Australia has them all in one man, Canon Davies. Now he's retired from full parish duties much of his time is spent on the nearby Vasse River.
Canon Davies designed and built the paddle-steamer in 1993. It's been in dry dock while he served in an inland parish. Now, he's retired to the Western Australian coast at Busselton, south of Perth; and has revived his boating interests.
Busselton takes a great interest in the river boat and her captain. For Canon Davies it's an absorbing and highly satisfying hobby. He takes care of everything on the little boat.
The boat has an overall length of fourteen ft.. The Canon's wife is often a passenger, but this time she chose to be a land-lubber, while her husband undertook river trials.
The operation is watched by observers of all ages, who often have their own ideas on the ideal river-craft. It's a slow operation ... a hobby for a patient man. Lighting the boiler is only a preliminary to moving-off. There's a long wait for steam pressure to build-up.
The Gauge climbs steadily.
With pressure up to sixty-pounds, it' time to take the passengers aboard.
The two-cylinder engine comes to life, and they move out into mid-stream.
The squat little craft chugs lazily downstream. Her design may seem outmoded, but she's a popular vessel in Busselton.
There are unexpected refinements -- necessary to cope with unavoidable obstacles.
Paddle-steamers are a rare sight today in Australia, so they're a popular tourist attraction where they can still be found. Canon Davies' boat is no exception. She has an added attraction -- passage is free. She's reliable, too. Her owner-skipper can guarantee her performance. He has known his vessel since it first took shape on the drawing board while he was still engaged in parish duties.